Fri, 05 Sep 2003

7 years for bomb accomplice

Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Makassar, South Sulawesi

The Makassar District Court sentenced on Thursday an accomplice in the deadly Makassar bombing to seven years in prison, the first sentence to be handed down for a number of suspects in the terror attacks in the South Sulawesi provincial capital.

In the meantime, a prosecutor sought eight years imprisonment for another accomplice.

The panel of judges presided over by Muhammad Adnan said in the court hearing that 32-year-old Suriadi Spd was found guilty of hiding information on the planning of the attacks on a McDonald's outlet and car showroom.

"The defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt of hiding information on terrorist acts and of illegal possession of a gun and nine arrows. He did not inform security authorities of the explosive materials which were placed by key suspect Agung Abdul Hamid in his house in the city," he said, explaining that the defendant's actions were against Article 13 of Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 1/2003 and Law No. 15/2003 on terrorism.

The verdict, the first handed down for 16 suspects in the Dec. 5 attacks that killed three and injured 15 others, is three years lighter than the prosecutor Hajrati Amin had sought.

The judges also ordered the prosecutors to destroy all material evidence.

Suriadi looked disappointed with the court's verdict while his wife cried.

"I cannot accept this decision. It's a slander. Many testimonies, including mine, were manipulated by the prosecutors. I have said that I did not know that the sack contained explosive materials but the prosecutors and judges assumed that I knew. Therefore I will appeal," he said.

Suriadi's lawyers Baharuddin Badaru and Imran Ali Manda also expressed disappointment with the court's verdict, saying they would immediately file an appeal with the High Court.

In the other hearing, prosecutor Hamsia Latief requested an eight-year prison sentence for Muhammad Tang bin Buraera alias Ittang alias Sudi for aiding the key suspect when the latter was in Palu, capital of the Central Sulawesi province, after the bombing.

Prosecutor Jassolong Situmorang said the defendant was guilty beyond reasonable doubt in allowing Hamid to spend several nights in his house after the bombing and did not inform the local authorities.

There have been no evidence that the suspects had links with those prosecuted or sentenced in the Oct. 12, 2002 Bali blasts that killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, and injured more than 320 others or the Aug. 5 JW Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta that killed 12 people. The Bali bombings are blamed on the al Qaeda-linked Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist group.